Spring Hills’ Seniors Given Rides In World War II-Era Trainer Plane

Spring HIlls WWII Flight - 7

Mike Winterboer, a pilot with the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, left, with Marguerite and John Boucher after Marguertie’s flight.

Two longtime township residents were among a handful of senior citizens treated June 26 to a ride in a World War II-era trainer airplane.

John and Marguerite Boucher, township residents for 35 years, and several other clients of Spring Hills Franklin and Spring Hills Morristown assisted living centers gathered at Central Jersey Regional Airport in Hillsborough for the flights.

The flights were provided by volunteers from the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, a Nevada-based non-profit dedicated to honoring seniors and United States military veterans, primarily those living in long-term health care facilities, by giving them rides in a Boeing PT-17 Stearman biplane, according to the organization’s web site.

John Boucher is a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Army of Occupation in Japan when the war ended, he said. Boucher was the first of the seniors to go up in the plane.

“It was wonderful,” he said. “I enjoyed it a lot.”

His wife of 58 years, Margaurite, said she hadn’t been in an open-cockpit plane since she was about 10 years old.

“It was great fun, she said, after she had taken her flight. She said her response when she was told the organization was inviting seniors to fly was, “Why not?”

Adrianne Hill, executive director of Spring Hills in Franklin, said partnering with the foundation to give her residents a chance to ride in the plane “was the right thing to do.”

“It’s excellent that we have the opportunity, plus this was on a lot of their bucket lists,” she said. “We’re glad we could make this become real.”

The two foundation volunteers at the event were Diane and Mike Winterboer. Mike flew, while Diane handled the logistics.

Spring HIlls WWII Flight - 4

Spring Hills of Franklin clients and staff at Central Jersey Regional Airport, in front of the Boeing P-17 Stearman trainer plane.

The couple, who live in Oregon, dedicate about one week a month to the foundation, she said.

“We are able to give flights to vets all over the country at no charge, primarily World War II and Korea, sometimes Vietnam and sometimes younger,” she said.

The Stearman, Winterboer said, was the plane used by the Army Air Corps to weed out trainees.

“It’s not an easy plane to fly,” she said. “They’d put them in this difficult one to wash them out. If they passed, they’d move them on to the P-6. If they passed that, they’d move them to the Mustangs.”

Winterboer said she and her husband will deliver the plan next to New England, then will head back home to Oregon before their next assignment.

Your Thoughts


Please Support Independent Journalism In Franklin Township!

No other media outlet covering Franklin Township brings you the depth of information presented by the Franklin Reporter & Advocate. Period. We are the only truly independent media serving the Eight Villages.

But we can only do that with your support. Please consider a yearly subscription to our online news site; at $37 a year, it’s one of the best investments you can make in our community.

To subscribe, please click here.

Other News From The Eight Villages …